Deep Father, The Living Stone, He Who Dwells Below
|Domain||Dwarves, Mountains, Caves, Precious Gems and Metals, Wealth, the World and all Treasures in it|
|Ethos||The Living Stone provides.|
|Typical Worshipers||Dwarves, Miners, Blacksmiths, Stone Masons, Craftsmen|
|Head of the Church||Multiple heads of church. (See below)|
|Demographics||85% Dwarven, 12% Human, 3% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Worshipped mainly in Northern and Western Ithria, most especially in Urmordia and Ulkran.|
|Opposed Faiths||All of the Dark Lords.|
|Holy Symbol||A lantern, a pickaxe and a scroll.|
Uxamar is the god of the dwarves. He has many names. He is called Deep Father and the Living Stone. He is also known as the Deep One and He Who Dwells Below. Uxamar is revered in the great dwarven nations of Urmordia and Ulkran, in the hybrid nation of Uthran and in all of the smaller dwarven strongholds scattered throughout the northern mountains. Wherever one finds dwarves, one finds Uxamar. He is also worshiped widely by mountain villages, mining towns, blacksmiths, stone masons and craftsmen of all sorts. Many who work metal and stone offer up a prayer to great Uxamar to guide their hands and bless their tools.
In stories and sculpture, Uxamar is depicted as a powerfully built dwarf with a thick beard down to his belly and a ring on every finger. He wears a great horned iron helm called Athabor which allows him to see into the heart and mind of any living creature. He wears a great cloak fashioned from the skin of the great cave bear Gaburra that he defeated in single combat. The cloak, which bears the same name, cannot be pierced by any weapon. He wields Thuqax, a massive iron hammer decorated with dwarven runes of inlaid gold.
He is the undisputed lord and master of the underworld and his power extends to all things within it. Stone and metal yield to his will. With a mere thought, he can form a gaping chasm, close a cavern, divert a river of lava or cause a boulder to turn to dust. Likewise anything made of metal or stone obeys his command. No weapon of stone or metal can harm him unless he allows it. His booming voice shakes the underworld and the ground trembles at his approach.
Myths and Legends
According to the dwarves, Uxamar is the oldest god. The humans above sing songs of Imarus and his battle with chaos, but dwarves know the truth. The world has always been and will always be. It is infinite and timeless, like Uxamar. He and the world were ancient long before the other gods and races came here from other dimensions. To protect the underworld, Uxamar created the dwarves, his children. He fashioned the dwarves from the living stone and so back to the stone must they return. This is why dwarves are buried… to return to the living stone.
According to the faith, Uxamar dwells in a vast cavern deep underground... a cavern which supports the weight of the entire world. This vast cavern is filled with treasure. Uxamar dwells here with the spirits of those faithful who have died who continue to serve him in the afterlife. It is said that all treasure in the world comes from this great cavern. Each piece manifests itself in the mortal world when any craftsman creates it. When any treasure or beautiful crafted piece is destroyed, it returns to Uxamar’s cavern. Thus all treasure and beauty transitions between the mortal realm and Uxamar's realm in an endless cycle of creation and destruction.
When the folly of the other gods split the sky, the world shook and was fractured. Through the cracks came the Dark Lords from nightmarish nether realms. With them came the three Abominations. Dragons and demons also slipped through these cracks into the world and with them they brought their minions - giants, trolls, goblins, skrell and worse. Uxamar fought the forces of evil and these battles shook the world. When the World Storm raged and evil first came through, Uxamar battled them often and the land shook night and day. Over the centuries, he has defeated many of the evils of the world. There are now fewer to fight and thus fewer battles. That is why landquakes were common then, but much more rare today.
Overview of the Church
The church of Uxamar is a major part of a dwarven life. Its temples are found in every major dwarven city-state. Uxamaran religion is very rigid and organized, with many rules and rituals. Whole books have been devoted to protocol.
Uxamar is seen a provider, father, leader and font of all wisdom. Dwarven culture is defined in the light of following in his example. He is the quintessential dwarf – strong, proud, brave, lawful, hard working and stoic. He is what every dwarf strives to be.
The living stone is an important concept. The world of stone and caverns is seen as not just a place, but a living thing, which provides. Many heroic traits are likened to stone in religious metaphors. To be stoic and unyielding, like stone, is a good thing.
The various crafts and trades are important to this faith as well. Every dwarf has a trade, craft or profession by which they make themselves useful and contribute to dwarven society. It does not matter what your craft or profession is, as long as you pursue it with diligence, hard work, integrity and lawfulness. Each craft, trade and profession has a “craft saint” appointed to it. This is a dwarf of that particular trade or profession who exemplified the teachings of Uxamar. For instance, the craft saint of blacksmiths is Ghalorim, considered by all dwarves to be the greatest blacksmith who ever lived. Upon his death, the church declared him the craft saint of all blacksmiths. There are currently more than four hundred individual Uxamaran craft saints.
The Three Abominations
The faith of Uxamar involves the opposition and domination over three lesser entities known as the Three Abominations. Each of them represents one of the three great sins in dwarven mythology... treachery, laziness and anarchy. These are dark powers that dwell underground. They work endlessly to usurp power from Uxamar, but fear his might and those faithful to him. There are countless stories of Uxamar battling the Abominations and besting them, sometimes with wits, sometimes with steel.
Varrix is the lord of shadows and emptiness, the king of hollow things. He is said to look like a tall, thin, gaunt and pale dwarf. He represents the deep gloom and emptiness of caves, the loneliness that follows death. He is the god of cowards, thieves, liars, the corrupt and the dishonored. He devours the souls of the unworthy. Varrix roams the underworld, never staying still and never satiating his hunger. Of the three Abominations, Varrix is the strongest.
Gomdar is the master of greed, gluttony, laziness and weakness. He appears as a tremendously fat dwarf who is beardless and hairless. He dresses in garish colors and dwells in a cavern that is filled with silken cushions, velvet pillows and mountains of food. He cares only for creature comforts and idle pleasures. There are many tales of Gomdar avoiding work and suffering the consequences of his laziness.
Sykrith is the lord of insanity and master of chaos. He appears as a dirty, wild haired dwarf dressed in shredded rags. He wears a belt of mismatched, broken tools and carries a sack of stolen treasures. Sykrith despises law and order. He loathes cleanliness and perfection. He exists only to break things, to take things and to sow the seeds of discord wherever he can. Sykrith is served by an army of minions, horrible twisted creatures that he fashions from the souls of evil dwarves. These minions serve their master by working to undo all order in the world. They are responsible for much trouble and turmoil. Whenever something breaks unexpectedly or a tool goes missing or bad luck strikes, it is blamed on Sykrith and his minions.
The worship of Uxamar is most common in the north and west where dwarves are common. It is the chief religion in Urmordia, Ulkran and smaller dwarven mountain communities such as Irondale. It is also a major faith in the mining towns of Uthran, Normidia, Arkalia and Vorrik.
History and Origins
The dwarves claim that they and their god have always been, as eternal as stone. Scholars however, believe that Uxamar is based on a much earlier faith. In the years of the Irenni League, there was an obscure minor diety named Uxmir who was the god of the underworld and keeper of the dead. Uxmir was also seen as the lord of wealth since all wealth came from the ground. Uxmir himself was based upon an even older Anharan death god called Uk’smi.
In the Irenni League, Uxmir was worshiped by a wide swath of society. However, as he was the god of the underworld, it was considered ill luck to write down his stories. Uxmir was chiefly a tradition of oral stories and funerary chants. Thus little is known of this Irenni faith. When the Sundering hit and the World Storm followed, millions died. Millions more died in the Great War that followed. These events and the rise in deaths caused a swell in the faith if Uxmir. Uxmir was already the primary religion among the mining villages of northeastern Irenni League. So it was that they took that faith with them when they plunged into the underworld (see the history of Urmordia). The Irenni who fled into the underworld eventually evolved into the dwarves and founded Urmordia. Likewise, in the isolation of the underworld, the faith of Uxmir evolved in to the religion of Uxamar. As the name had changed, so did the focus of the religion. Where once it was a religion of the dead, it was now focused on a more literal "underworld". Where once Uxmir was a god of wealth, Uxamar is now the god of all the treasures that come from below - precious gems and valuable metals.
The religion of Uxamar has evolved with the dwarves and been an important part of their history. Uxamar has been the light in the darkness for the entire race. He has given them strength to face adversity and hope to fight despair. Uxamar is inseparable from them.
The church of Uxamar serves as a framework by which all dwarves live their lives. Individual dwarves are called upon to be honest, hard working and to life orderly and productive lives. More broadly, the church promotes the responsible use of the land, the crafting of beautiful items and promotes honesty and industriousness among the faithful.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Temples of Uxamar are huge cavernous halls filled with decorative pillars. They are always built deep… at the very bottom of the dwarven stronghold or underground city-state. Such churches are not fashioned of brick or timber, but rather carved into the very living stone of the world. The dwarven churches are built as deep as they can be. They believe their god lives deep and the deeper the temple, the closer to their god they are.
In human communities such as mountain mining towns, shrines to Uxamar are built in nearby natural caves or large chambers beneath buildings. They are always underground and usually feature exposed bedrock. Often times, natural veins of iron or other precious metals are exposed and left untapped as prominent features of the church.
Besides the dwarves, Uxamar is worshiped by miners, blacksmiths, stone masons, craftsmen, gemcutters and all who make their living by working metal or stone. In some regions, he is also seen as the patron of undertakers and those responsible for the dead.
Some Uxamaran faithful, known as deep delvers, actually spend their lives digging. Every day is spent digging and the digging becomes a kind of meditation. While it may seem like madness, the truth, known to all but rarely spoken of, is that the deep delvers are trying to meet their god face to face. Most such extremists leave dwarven society to live hermitic lives of solitude, meditation and endless labor.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Because the faith of Uxamar developed in the underworld, completely isolated from other religions, there is apathy between Uxamar and other religions. The church of Uxamar is mostly neutral towards most other gods. The one exception is Drenmoragin. There are a number of similar characteristics between Uxamar and Drenmoragin and the two churches are, usually, on good terms.
The Dark Lords represent Chaos rather than Order and Destruction rather than Creation. For these reasons, they are enemies of the church of Uxamar.
The three highest laws of the church of Uxamar are Duty, Diligence and Order. These three simple terms, however, encompass much of what it is to be dwarven.
|Duty||Duty is the first and highest law, but it takes four forms. Duty to the truth (honesty), duty to one's principles (integrity), duty in the face of danger (courage) and duty to dwarven law and justice (honor). These four sides of duty - honesty, integrity, courage and honor - are seen as the four pillars of dwarven society. They are inseparable and absolute.|
|Diligence||Uxamar calls upon every dwarf to work diligently. Every day should be filled with constant and earnest effort toward one's goals. Idleness and laziness are sins, as are gluttony and greed. Hard work is to be rewarded. The lazy deserve nothing. Work should not be merely mindless toil, but productive work toward a worthwhile undertaking. It should produce things of utility and function.|
|Order||Cleanliness and order are virtues to be admired and respected. This trait stresses adhering to laws and conventions to ensure a more harmonious society. It also includes the idea of the systemic arrangement of things in relation to each other and the beauty that arises from such arrangements. This concept is also extended to the artistry and beauty in all things, such as that found in a finely crafted object. Whenever an item is crafted, it should be made of the highest quality materials, the finest craftmenship, the most exacting attention to detail and it should be pleasing to the eye. Artistry, when blended with craftsmenship, makes every crafted thing an object of beauty. A common saying from the Uxamar scriptures is "There is order in beauty and beauty in order".|
When a dwarf dies, he is brought before Uxamar who judges his life and considers to what extent the dwarf has followed these three laws. If he is judged worthy, he will dwell in the underworld with Uxamar forever in the great cavern... a realm of happiness and plenty. If judged unworthy, he is cast out into the infinite dark of the underworld where Varrix will find him and devour his soul.
The central document of the Uxamaran faith is the Lethekarum, a dwarven name which translates as "Echos of Stone". It consists of seven books, each penned during a different age of dwarven history. The books spell out the history of Uxamar, the philosophies of the church, the duties of the priests, the guidelines for the faithful and the nature of the world. All priests carry a copy with them. Temple copies are enormous with scripture imprinted on metal pages and bound with stone cover tablets.
The religion of Uxamar has three separate symbols each associated with one of the three laws. A lantern, a hammer and a scroll. Each is significant in its own way, though the three symbols are usually seen together.
The lantern represents duty in all its forms. It is the light of the lantern which banishes shadows and sends thieves and criminals running. It is the light of the lantern which gives courage in the face of darkness. It is the light of the lantern which reveals truth.
The hammer represents diligence and hard work. The hammer is associated with the underworld and the crafting of fine goods.
The scroll represents law and order. The scroll is many things. It is the document which contains the laws of a society. It is the master's rules that an apprentice must follow. It is the artist's sketch, the architect's plans, the scholar's calculations and the poet's ballad.
The faithful carry a token from the underground. This is typically a precious gemstone or gold nugget or piece of stone. It is always cut or crafted by them into a small, but beautiful, object. Only an item found by them is carried. They believe that they are meant to find their own token, that it is a gift left behind by Uxamar, for them and them alone, to find. Each is unique and very personal for them.
In Urmordia every dwarf is buried in ornately carved stone coffins which are put in burial vaults. Vast burial complexes exist as part of the city-state where tens of thousands of dwarves are interred. In Ulkran however, each dwarf is buried in an ornate coffin of stone and metal and crystal. Each such coffin is a work of art. The coffin and corpse are then ritually hurled into the Chasm of Uxamar. In this way, they return to the stone of the deep and to Uxamar. It is forbidden to build in or around the chasm or to descend into the chasm. That is the realm of the dead and the living are not meant to go there.
The Uxamaran faith has several significant holy days, most of which celebrate important dates in dwarven history. Holy days include the day that Uxamar fashioned the dwarves from stone, the founding of Mordia and the reclaming of Mordia.
Overview of the Clergy
Uxamaran priests hold a special place in dwarven society. Dwarven society is rigidly segmented into castes. The fifth caste is "qen", the priests and spiritual leaders of the community. Only about 1 in 500 dwarves is of the qen caste and holds the position of priest. This makes them somewhat rare and special.
Divisions and Rank Structure
Uxamaran priests follow six distinct ranks which are based upon the six pure metals known to dwarves. (Mercury, while known to dwarves, is not considered a true metal by them). The ranking of these metals is based upon their history, but also upon their utility, value and relationship with dwarven soceity. The six ranks of the priesthood are, from lowest to highest: lead, iron, tin, copper, silver and gold. The six ranks have different titles, duties, powers and spell abilities. The robes and manner of dress are reflected in their rank.
The lowest rank consists of the newcomers and neophytes who seek to join the church. These young dwarves, both male and female, have heard the calling and seek a life of servitude to the church of Uxamar. They wear dull grey robes of coarse wool. They are referred to as "leadings". Leadings will serve in this role for no less than four years before being promoted. Leadings are given the most menial tasks and back breaking labor, to teach them humility and subservience. Most simple cook and clean and polish and stock the shelves. Those who show promise may be used as couriers. After several years of service, a leading is promoted into the faith and ascended to the Iron rank.
Those who are promoted to Iron rank are referred to as "Iron Brother" or "Iron Sister". With the title comes their first taste of real responsibility. Members of the Iron rank are given iron armor and weapons and trained in the arts of war. They are sent forth to do battle with the enemies of the church and to serve the dwarven state. It is the Irons who provide security, safeguard the interests of the church and protect the priests. The Irons are often sent out in groups to track down criminals and so forth. In addition to their martial training and military duties, members of the Iron rank begin studying the basics of magic, prayers and rituals. However, at this point, they have very limited spell ability and rely much more on brawn and steel to carry out their duties.
Upon achieving a certain level of magical ability, an Iron is promoted to the rank of Tin. The Tins are essentially "lesser priests". During his time at this rank, a Tin is required to focuse all his efforts upon one craft until he has achieved complete mastery. Tins continue their magical training and have the following spells and abilities: they can mend simple objects by touch, shape stone with their bare hands and cause their fists to turn to stone delivering powerful blows. Tins wear bluish grey robes. They typically wear chainmail beneath. Tins are typically charged with leading Irons in battle and with serving the Coppers. Beginning at the Tin rank, priests of Uxamar devote themselves fully to the three laws and study each in turn to gain greater insight and power. In Uxamaran mythology, the study of the three laws is called "masterying the deeper mysteries". As Duty is considered the deepest and most complex of the laws, it is learned last. Therefore, Tins begin their studies of the deeper mysteries by mastering Order.
The fourth rank of the priests is Copper. Coppers are considered "full priests". They conduct most basic ceremonies and interact with the general dwarven public the most. Coppers continue their martial and spell training and also work toward the mastery of a second craft. Coppers wield a wider array of magical powers. A few of these abilities include shaping metal with their bare hands, turning stone to turn to mud and vice versa, changing their skin to iron, unleashing their voices in a stentorian boom and finally, summoning large rocks from thin air which can be hurled at enemies. Coppers study the second law of Uxamar, diligence. Priests of this rank wear robes of a deep copper red color over chainmail. Coppers are sometimes asked to oversee small churches or shrines.
The next rank is Silver and these are the "elder" priests of the faith. The Silvers supervise the ranks below them, assign tasks and see to the general day to day administration of the church. Siilvers are sometimes called upon to lead delegations, speak at public events and lead the more complex ceremonies. It is not required but many Silvers will add a third craft to their repetoire or even a fourth. They continue their studies into the deeper mysteries by delving into the study of the first law... Duty. Silvers command a vast array of powerful magical abilities which include the ability to mend complex and valuable objects, to form crudely fashioned objects of stone or metal simply by pulling them from the ground. They can harden their skin to steel, cause pits to open beneath the feet of foes and cause rock to crumble and metal to melt with a touch. As their rank suggests, these priests wear robes of a shimmering silver. Silvers are often called upon to lead individual churches.
The high priests of the Uxamaran faith are of the Gold rank. These individuals form a council. In Urmordia, there are thirteen on the Gold Council. In Ulkran, there are elevan and in Uthran, three. Smaller regions (such as Irondale) are led by a single Gold rather than an entire council. The Gold Council guides the church at the highest level and the Golds act as administrators for the entire faith. Golds rarely leave their temple or make public appearances. When they do, it is usually to meet with kings or lead large congregations of followers in very special gatherings. Golds wield a vast arsenal of potent spells. Some of the feats that have been witnessed including causing stone bridges and walls to form with a word, causing tunnels to collapse with a hand gesture, mending the most complex and beautiful objects with a touch, summoning stone elementals, causing landquakes and altering the terrain under foot. It is also said that they can see through stone and walk across rivers of lava. Golds were golden jewelry and robes spun from golden threads. They also wear elaborate head gear made of pure gold.
This website was last updated October 1, 2017 . Copyright 1990-2017 David M. Roomes.